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Water has been identified as the major environmental issue of the 21st century.
Many parts of the world will experience increasing water shortage, while at other parts will have a higher incidence of flooding.
Poor water quality is a threat for human society as well as for natural ecosystems.
The research focus of the Institute for Water and Wetland Research is the natural environment, in particular aquatic ecosystems and wetlands. Many of these environments have been substantially altered by human impact.
The changes have resulted in stress responses of all living biota and impose major challenges to individuals, populations and the ecosystem as a whole.
The IWWR studies the mechanisms of adaptation to these changes of micro-organisms, plants and animals at the level of the molecule, the cell, the organism and the ecosystem.
The tight coupling of fundamental scientific research to application, distinguishes the IWWR from other national and international institutes on water research.
The novel applications for current water problems are developed from innovative fundamental insight in molecular, physiological and ecological processes.
The research of the IWWR is carried out by complementary and closely interacting research groups, which study the mechanism of adaptation of cells, organisms and ecosystems to stress.
The coherent research of these groups and their approximate positions in the IWWR are depicted below.
It should be realized that the research of most the departments spans a considerable area within each field, despite their focused research goals, providing essential opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration.
Traditionally the research on stress response and adaptation of ecosystems has been the basis for most of the research carried out within the IWWR.
It comprises research groups on plant and animal ecology, aquatic ecology, and environmental sciences.